Friday, October 28, 2011

Further Adventures of Bug-Boy

"I a bug, mummy!" 

The Sprocket is doing a very good job of climbing the bedroom wall.

"I can see that, darling. You're a lovely bug. But can you please get off mummy's shoulder. You've only got one mummy, and you need to look after her." 

(Oouf! No, not onto mummy's tummy!)

             *      *         *           *

"I a bug, mummy!" 

The Sprocket walks in a circle on his hands and his feet with his backside stuck up in the air. 

"I know, hon. But what about if you're a bug inside the shopping centre. The cars can't see little bugs and they might squash a little bug flat." The car-park is busy, most spaces are full. 
"I a bug, mummy!" he responds indignantly, doing another circle while I keep a wary eye out for cars. 

         *           *            *             *

"Pee-peed go home, mummy," my Sprocket says with satisfaction as we play in the playroom. 
"Oh sweetheart, that's great. I'm so glad you put him back. Millipedes are much happier outside in the garden. They like it where it's cool and dark and there are rocks for them to hide under." 

He looks at me as if I'm very slow. He might have a point. 

"Pee-peed go home," he says. 

"I know-" I begin. 

And then I notice the proximity of the dolls house. 

And then I see the millipede scurrying around inside the dolls house, looking very out of place and bug-like on the pink plastic.  
"Pee-peed home," my Sprocket repeats happily. 

I see. 

        *               *               *               *

"Ghee's a grasshopper!" the Sprocket lunges towards us slowly, with his arms stretched out in claw shapes. 

"Grasshopper - grrrr!" 

We watched A Bugs Life a few times when we all had the flu. The grasshoppers are the naughty insects that try to steal all the ants food. 

"Oh no! The grasshoppers coming!" I shriek. 

My Sprocket tries not to giggle as he pounces. 

"Oh no! The grasshopper! The grasshopper's got me!" 

I think my foot has just been eaten by a grasshopper. And here was I thinking they were vegetarians! 

Friday, October 21, 2011


"My pee-pee is broken," the Sprocket tells me, crestfallen. He has come into the kitchen to where I am doing the dishes to show me what remains of his latest find. 
I look at the millipede he is holding in two parts.  Sometimes they continue moving once they have been 'broken', but this one is very still. 
"Yes, darling. It is broken. The millipede is dead, dear. All gone. You need to be very gentle with bugs. We'd better put it in the bin now."
"Pee-pee is sad, mummy" the Sprocket tells me. 
"Yes, darling, I would say the millipede is very sad. You do need to use your gentle hands with bugs. They're only little." 
He looks at it for a little longer, perplexed, and then loses interest. 
Bugs have overtaken trucks as my Sprocket's main obsession. I even know exactly when it started. A couple of months ago the Sprocket was sitting in the bath and he noticed a daddy-long-legged spider in the corner of the room. And I sang incy-wincy spider. "More Spider mummy!" 
So I sang it again. And again and again. And again. To the power of several hundred. 
And suddenly the Sprocket started noticing the bugs that are all around us. 
Both my beloved and I have suffered from hearing heart-breaking screams and come running - only to find the Sprocket pointing with awe and nerve tingling excitement at a small speck of black. 
"Bug! Bug! Bug!" 
At first,the Sprocket was unsure whether bugs were amazing or slightly scary and I'm afraid I didn't help by telling the Sprocket once in a bad-mummy-moment "If you don't stop putting your sister in a headlock mummy will send a fleet of bugs after you!" 
But after careful observation (and after watching A Bugs Life a few dozen times) the Sprocket has decided that bugs are good. (Unlike mummy and daddy who cross him all too often)
Our favourite activity at present is to go into the garden and overturn logs and bricks to find the little worlds that lie beneath, the slugs and slaters, millipedes and spiders. Some of these bugs have shorter lives than others. One poor millipede got taken to be 'washed' with sorrowful results. 
Yet despite the tragic loss of life I can't help but feel rather happy about this change in loves. Trucks I never got. Now bugs, bug-watching I can relate to.  
I suppose we all have slight hopes as to what our children will end up. I have always rather liked the thought of my children being naturalist a la Gerald Durrell of My Family and Other Animals fame, and while I'm unsure of my reaction should the Sprocket unleash a matchbox full of Scorpions and baby-scorpions on us at the dinner table as the young Durrell did to his family - turtles, pigeons, donkeys would all be good. 
So bring on the mini-beasts and I will hope very hard that this is the beginning of great things!  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Goodbye Connie

My old dog died this week, so I am all weepy and reflective. 
She wasn't the best tempered dog in the world. She wasn't the brightest dog in the world. We hadn't actually lived together for a long time. 
But... she was loyal and affectionate (in her own way), and an inspiration in her unswerving devotion and dedication to the retrieval of tennis balls. 
I didn't say goodbye. 
She lived at my mum and dads in her later years, to begin with because my beloved and I were overseas and later because she was not at her best around small children. Whenever we visited mum and dad's Connie was locked in my parents bedroom so she didn't snap when subjected to over-enthusiastic toddler and baby dog-handling. So I haven't really said a proper hello to her in awhile. 
She had been looking old and stiff for a long time. 
I got her when I returned from a trip to Europe when I was eighteen. So she was well into her nineties when she died. 
We were best friends all through my twenties, through uni, through my first evil boyfriend and through slightly less evil boyfriends, through my first jobs. An (evil) ex- boyfriend once asked who I loved more, him or the dog and I just laughed at him. 
She came with me for solitary mid-night swims, she walked with me every evening, she ensured I exercised every day (by barking at me solidly when I got home from work until we headed out) she growled at stray noises in the night when I lived alone. She is in my wedding photos. 
The day she died she spent all day in her basket and then in the evening when my dad went through to watch tv she hobbled over to sit with him, and then she died. 
Goodbye Connie, I miss you. 
I hope you are chasing lots of lovely tennis balls in heaven.